For generations of television fans, Betty White has been a favorite fixture. From her days as the Queen of Game Shows to hosting Saturday Night Live well into her 80’s, the Oak Park, Illinois-born Golden Girl has been a television mainstay since her debut in 1939. While she’s always been a beloved part of the television landscape, Betty White is more popular than ever. In fact, lately lots of us have been watching Betty White’s Off Their Rockers on NBC where the cast of elderly actors perfectly execute pranks mostly on young people (aka punks on the show). It’s flat out hilarious and fun for the whole family (parental warning though… some of the pranks are a bit inappropriate for young children). Let’s explore at least 10 of the reasons why this talented and intelligent woman is still at the top of her game and winning the hearts of her fans.
- Her Wicked Sense of Humor – First and foremost, Betty White is a serious funny-woman. Her comedic chops are a force to be reckoned with, a fact her costars on shows like Saturday Night Live and at her own Friar’s Club Roast experienced firsthand. One of the best comediennes in the business, Betty White and her impeccable timing are almost universally adored.
- Her Sharp Wit – For decades, Betty White has proudly showcased her razor-sharp wit for the world to see. From knocking them dead on What’s My Line in the 1950’s to adlibbing on the set of Hot in Cleveland, she’s still whip-smart in her 90’s.
- She Refuses to Bend to Stereotypes – Forget the stereotypical image of a doddering elder, because Betty White blows it to smithereens. From her off-color jokes to her youthful energy, Betty White is nobody’s typical “old lady.”
- She’s a Trailblazer for Women in Entertainment – In a time when very few women were making real decisions in Hollywood, Betty White had full creative control of her show Life With Elizabeth from 1952 to 1955. She was also the first woman to ever win an Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host in 1983.
- Her Work With Animals – Don’t call Betty White an activist. She prefers to advocate for animal health and welfare without being beholden to politics or demonstrations, and thinks that most activists focus on the negative side of things to the point of alienating the public. “I’m a big cockeyed optimist,” she says. “I try to accentuate the positive as opposed to the negative.”
- She Challenges Preconceptions About Age – Because she’s still incredibly active in both her career and her charity work, refuses to bend to the idea of a demure older lady and frequently makes jokes that aren’t quite in line with society’s image of aging women, Betty White challenges peoples’ preconceptions about age while simultaneously reminding them through simply being and working that old age doesn’t have to mean an end of activity.
- She Pulls No Punches – Betty White can be accused of many things, but beating around the bush is just not one of them. Ms. White calls them as she sees them, with a forthright and funny way of presenting her observations that’s impossible to resist.
- She Can Do Anything – Writing books, competing on and hosting game shows, acting, singing, dancing – there seems to be very little that the immensely talented Betty White can’t do well. While it’s easy to be intimidated and put off by people with so many skills, Betty’s accomplishments are presented with such a healthy measure of her endearing charm that it’s difficult not to love her.
- She’s Able to Maintain Relevance – In an era where Hollywood mavens in their 40’s are going under the knife, freezing their faces with Botox and worrying endlessly about how they can remain relevant, Betty White is more popular than ever in her 90’s. Her pragmatic but progressive attitudes endear her to more liberal-leaning viewers, gaining an entirely new audience when most actresses half her age are frantically searching for a way to maintain their fame.
- She’s an Honorary Forest Ranger – When the USDA Forest Service and Smokey Bear found out through interviews that Betty White wanted to be a forest ranger as a little girl, but was barred from the profession due to the fact that women weren’t allowed to become forest rangers at the time, they made her an honorary forest ranger.
From hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for a decade to bringing the sweet, somewhat dim Rose Nylund to life on the classic hit Golden Girls, Betty White brings her patented brand of vitality and acerbic wit tempered with plenty of good-natured sweetness to everything she does. There are 10 reasons on this list why people love the inimitable Betty White, and they don’t even begin to scratch the surface.